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Arts & Culture

New Plaque Honors NC Leaders Who Did Not Sign Constitution Until Bill Of Rights Added

Scott Washington is the historian who proposed the marker.

A new highway historical marker in Orange County commemorates a key event in American history. 

In 1788, North Carolina leaders gathered in Hillsborough to debate ratification of the U.S. Constitution. 

Hillsborough historian Scott Washington says leaders were pressured to ratify the Constitution as it existed. 

The new marker is near Dickerson Chapel in Hillsborough.
The new marker is near Dickerson Chapel in Hillsborough.

“As they debate and go through the constitution, Samuel Spencer realizes there is something missing and that's the point at which he raises this concern and says there ought to be a Bill of Rights,” Washington says.

The state's refusal to ratify helped push Congress to debate and approve the Constitution's first 10 amendments – or the Bill of Rights. 

The marker stands on North Churton Street in Hillsborough. When the aluminum marker was unveiled, Dickerson Chapel church bells rang.

"The superstructure of the church is Hillsborough's 1791 courthouse, the same year the Bill of Rights went into force," notes Washington.

Ansley Wegner of the Office of Archives and History stands with Hollsborough mayor Tom Stevens.
Credit Hillsborough
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Ansley Wegner of the Office of Archives and History stands with Hillsborough mayor Tom Stevens.

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